Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

21 February 2016

Parental Guilt...

I have parental guilt.
Quite a lot it seems. It stems from lack of time.

When Boy8 rocked up was born.
The newly founded Parents Republic of Children (bo!) had time and money flowing out of our ears. We did, looking back. Boy8 had both of us at his beck and call.

When Miss5 descended from on high to grace us with her presence, like sleet. 
The Democratic Union of Parents of Children and Fun (bonza!) still managed to distribute our time, so that Miss5 got all the attention Boy8 got. Not necessarily with both parents at the same time. Which is a shame. But Miss5 at least got the same quantity hours of attention Boy8 would’ve had.
Happy days.

(Miss5's original landing site...)

When BabyBoy1 swaggered on the scene.
Team Parents (yay!) never had a chance. Two does not divide into three. Well it does, but it’s not neat and tidy and there’s messy little bits left over and stuff. Eww.
No matter how hard I try there is no way I can spend as much time as I did with Boy8, or even Miss5, with BabyBoy1.
Which is why I have parental guilt.

And it's worse because I love BabyBoy1 a lot.
He utter rocks and is a class A dude to boot.
He shouts Daddy the loudest when I get home.
He brings me my shoes. Alright not when I want or ask for them, but he does it anyway.
He heard ‘Know Your Enemy’ by Green Day today and started rocking out to it. Then he made sure I saw him rocking out, so I could join in.
The little dude is a dude.


Mrs. Amazing (sweetly) shoved a news paper article under my nose t'other day.
‘Read this bit in the middle, you’ll like it’
‘It lists lots of great Dad things, most of which you already do’
‘But don’t read the stuff of the left, it will make you mad’
‘Nor this stuff on the right, it’ll make you sweary
Gotcha. Blinkers on.

The read was nice. I enjoyed my self back patting session, but got many funny looks.
But my takeaway point from the list was this:

Dad’s should spent thirty minutes a day, no screens, focused, sober time, with EACH child.


Initially I thought, easy, do that every day no worries.
But then I thought again and realised, pants, actually I don’t.
Some mornings are such a rush I don’t even stop to chat to one child. 
Then when I get home I'm late, they are all going to bed early.
So actually I realised that some days... UH UH nope!
I don’t even manage five minutes with any child.
I am scum.

Yes I know...
It’s just an article and where on earth did that magic thirty minutes come from? Magic land.
What science was behind it? Was it even written by a human?
But... thirty minutes really isn't much. Is it.
I feel that thirty minutes is really the very least I should be doing.
I spend more time doing reading crap super important things on my phone.

So with that in mind, today I made sure I did that. 
I spend thirty minutes with each child, quality time too. I know I did. 
Sunday makes it WAY easier as there's less worky gubbins going on.
But I did it and it felt good. Really good.
I managed to sit down with Boy8, Miss5 and BabyBoy1 all separately and just hang with them.
It was nice.

(Eating pizza still counts as quality time... It does...)

Whoever wrote that list knew that comments like that can hurt. 
Which is rare, they normal have knives. Say for a Dad that spends a lot of time at work, reading things like that could really, really hurt. It can read 'you are failing'.
My parental guilt comes from the same place, and I don’t work crazy hours, or commute miles.
So I appreciate the softening someone felt was needed on the list. 
They said that if thirty minutes seemed impossible, or too hard. 
Then start with ten minutes and build up.

Can you imagine life so busy that you cannot spend ten minutes a day with each of your kids?
No? I can. It happens.
And worse I know some lovely Dads that have to do that 5/7 days a week.
They hate it.

But for me having a value, thirty minutes, in my head removes a lot of my parental guilt.
It’s changed the guilt from:

I am trying, I've gotta work, I'm busy... a lot
Brainzilla: ‘LAME!’

OH bugger off!
That was twenty four minutes, and yesterday I played snap for three damn hours!
Knob off!

I prefer that thinking.
Less punishing myself for failing to achieve an unquantified impossible task. Never knowing when I am close, or indeed succeed. 
More a realistic achievable goal.
They’re better they are. Cuddlier.

So Boy8, big moment coming up!
Boy8: ‘I know!'
We have played draughts (checkers) together for years, and not once have you beaten me
‘I did once...’
Didn't count, you had more pieces <Frowns>
<Mutters> ‘still won’
ANYway. Today, in less than two moves, and unless something happens to distract me
You are guaranteed to win this game of draughts
I have no choice of moves, and you cannot fail to choose the right moves.
<Cannot talk from excitement>
My move <Takes move>
<Boy8 takes move at the speed of light>
Just picking up my piece… 
For my second move...
About to put it down...
<Little eyes watching and waiting>
Nearly there....
OOOOO! Bad luck, you’re thirty minutes are up
Game discounted, the bell has been rung, last orders
<Boy8 weeps off>
<Miss5 arrives>
So Miss5... you've got one thousand and eight hundred seconds of my time
Make it count!
<Miss5 starts laying squares of fabric around the room>

(Oh no! I keep drinking my having to pieces! CHEERS! I mean… Your go... Hic <Grins>)